I see it a lot – people trying a plant-based diet for two weeks and then playing the “too hard” card and reverting back to old ways.
There are SO many reasons people have succeeded on a plant-based diet, so don’t give up on it too quickly!
Here are 3 top reasons why people get frustrated with a plant-based diet
Too much too soon
Just like with any lifestyle change, you can’t expect to change it all overnight. Small, manageable changes are going to create consistency. If you try to do it all in one day you are likely going to become overwhelmed and this may make you want to throw in the towel.
I mean think about it, if you have been eating a certain way for most of your life, you can’t expect your mind OR body to adapt right away. I recommend focusing on one thing at a time,
and master that change for several weeks before you move on to the next. For instance, pick one thing like cutting out cow’s milk, and find a plant milk you really like.
After you have stuck to this for a week or two, try doing the same thing with cheese, and so on, until you you are able to maintain consistency.
Detoxing and/or digestive issues
Digestive upset and/or some type of skin breakouts are some things almost all of my clients notice within days of switching to a plant-based diet. This can also occur in phases even several months after switching. This not necessarily a bad thing! After years of eating meat and dairy (amongst other chemical toxins) you are going to have significant residue build up in your intestinal tract and organs.
When you introduce detoxifying, high fiber/water content foods to your diet, you will likely experience a natural detox that could include symptoms of gas, frequent/loose bowel movements, and even some rumbles or bloat. Many Americans do not get anywhere near the recommended fiber intake, and since most plant foods will contain higher fiber amounts, you will obviously notice a difference in your digestion pretty immediately. You may also notice toxins being pushed out through your skin.
If you develop acne or breakouts this could be a sign your body is eliminating toxins.
This is completely normal – and in most cases a really good sign that your body is welcoming the change! Be patient and try not to over-analyze what your body is doing, but instead, embrace that your body is now able to start really showing you what it can do. Your body is trying heal itself so be patient and allow it to do what it needs to.
Lack of nutritional education
There is an overwhelming amount of misleading and conflicting ideologies that tell us how and what to eat. It’s no surprise to see why many people can get easily confused and torn between which diet is right for them. One thing you can bank on is that there is NO “perfect diet”- but there is a diet that has been proven to be most optimal for human functioning.
That diet is one that consists of whole, nutrient-dense, plant-based foods with carbohydrates as our main macronutrient source. Carbohydrates from whole, plant food sources (used to make glucose) are what our brains NEED more than any other nutrient. We also need plant sources of fats rich in Omega 3’s (like flax and chia seeds), as well as complete protein sources from foods like hemp, rice, peas, leafy greens, and beans. Do not let the food industry mislead you on this.
The idea that you must get these nutrients from animal sources is completely false. What you are getting from animal products is a recycled byproduct from what the animal has digested and passed on to you. Where do you think cows get their calcium in the first place? Did you know an orange has more natural calcium than a cup of cow’s milk?
Remember to think for yourself, and consider the source when researching these topics. The meat and dairy industry has billions of dollars invested in you choosing their products- make sure you aren’t being “sold” on false information.
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